The One21 Essential 100 Pt.11

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10

The Chariot-The Fiancée
The Fiancée
The Chariot

2007
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes

The Fiancée is a lesson for all those out there that believe that true creativity and brutality cannot live in the same place. I mean, unless you are listening to extremely technical math metal, this is about as cerebral as metalcore goes.

All The Chariot staples are there: the endless twists and turns, the copious amounts of feedback and distortion that acts as wall of sound and atmosphere. Vocalist Josh Scogin’s perfect vocals are present, as well as his deeply thoughtful and catchy lyrics. Its all there; but it is what is new that takes this album to another place. Try some pretty singing vocals, or maybe even a choir while we are at it. Try samples taken from songs as old as the recording process seamlessly woven into the wall of chaos that is The Chariot. The list goes on…

Then there is the overall mood of the album itself. The only thing I can compare it too is a house on fire. What is happening is chaotic and destructive, and yet captivating at the same time. You cant take your eyes off of it…

The Chariot is one of the most important bands in heavy music right now, and The Fiancée showed us that they are going to make this music the way THEY think it should be made, and will continue to do it that way until it is taken from them. I don’t think anybody is going to try either.
Highlights: And Shot Each Other, Then Came To Kill, They Faced Each Other

The Snake, The Cross, The Crown - Mander Salis
Mander Salis
The Snake The Cross The Crown

2004
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
It is rare to hear a band that can explore some many sides of themselves on one album and not coming out looking unfocused. The Snakes The Cross The Crown cut their teen in the music scene as a progressive rock band, but on 2004’s Mander Salis we saw a band that was ready to be remembered. One half progressive indie rock, one half experimental folk, Mander Salis slides back and forth between the two styles as if they were always supposed to be played together. One minute you have a band who could hold their own against Muse, the next against Iron & Wine.

What makes The Snake The Cross The Crown’s album so incredible is how masterful they are at both, and how they are able to flawlessly intertwine the two sounds. You can tell that this was a collection of songs that truly celebrated the creativity of every member of the band, be it with banjos or synthesizers. My challenge to any body reading this is to listen to “On The Threshold Of Eternity” and not instantly want to play it for someone. Go for it….I will wait…..
Highlights: Empires, An Honest Misappropriation of Funds, On The Threshold of Eternity

Danielson Ships
Ships
Danielson

2006
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Brother Danielson steps out with his most accessible record to date. Part of that is the group vocals, part is the song structures, which compared to other Danielson recordings are melodic and almost poppy. A big part of Ships accessibility is the presence of Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, Why? And Half-Handed Cloud. Not that these artist really change Danielson’s vision, they just make everyone feel better.

This is the album we always knew Danielson had in it.

The group vocals soften the sound and make the lyrics discernable. Not that being able to discern the lyrics makes them accessible. You need to work for meaning in Danielson songs but when you do, you discover songs filled with imagery of surrender and submission and longing for Christ. If you want to experience one of the pioneers of indie music and “freak-folk”, start hear.
Highlights: Cast it at the Setting Sail , Did I Step on Your Trumpet?, He Who Flattened Your Flame is Getting Torched

Playdough-Lonely Superstar
Lonely Superstar
Playdough

2002
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
In the world of Hip-Hop, those who can thrive in a group don’t always thrive on their own. This is not true of former Ill Harmonics and current Deepspace5 member Playdough, and his 2002 album, Lonely Superstar saw him more than thriving; he was celebrating. Infused with jazz beats and infectious hooks, Lonely Superstar would survive at any club easy. It is Playdough himself that takes the album from purely another Hip-Hop album and transforms it into true piece of art. His ability to weave ideas (both serious and amusing) together makes you hang on every line he utters.

The theme of Lonely Superstar, and yes I said theme for a Hip-Hop album, tries all the songs together in a masterfully bittersweet way lost on many emcees making 4x what Playdough is at his craft. He keeps things close to the chest, taking on the issues that matter the most to him. Like being poor, dealing with anger, supporting his wife, and trying to be contrite to God. In just a few songs, he is able to reach to so many frustrated people and ease their hearts, while at the same time making their heads bounce.

Top that Kanye
Highlights: 5 Cent Needleheads, Clappy Valentino (Clap Your Hands) , 1/4 Inchin

P.O.D.- Satellite
Satellite
P.O.D.

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Imagine for a moment that you are me (several years ago). I am getting in my car at 7:30AM to drive to community college and begin my day. Today is a little different because instead of hanging out in the lounge area during my lunch break, I am going to hit Best Buy to buy P.O.D.’s major label follow-up to Fundamental Elements Of The Southtown. I am hopeful for an easy day at school and a great day a new music from my favorite band. As my car starts up, I hit the radio button to listen to traffic before switching over to my CDs. Silence. No music, no stupid talk show banter, there is just silence coming from the speakers. Then the DJ announces that a plane has flown into the side of the Twin Towers.

Satellite was released on September 11th, 2001, and I cannot tell you how God used the music made by the guys in P.O.D. in my life that day. It was so heavy and aggressive but at all times so hopeful. It was the perfect album for someone who was both dismayed and needing comfort. Satellite allows you to indulge your anger for only moments of times, but quickly is able to fill your heart with joy.

Satellite is P.O.D.’s finest hour, it is a true testament to their abilities and strengths, and truly came to us at the moment we needed it the most.
Highlights: Set It Off , Alive , The Messenjah , Satellite

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